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Thread: A little Blue Ridge Parkway trip down to the Dragon

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  1. #1
    1024JLC
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    A little Blue Ridge Parkway trip down to the Dragon

    My life long best friend an I decided that we needed a little get away, so we decided that we should make a run down the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway and then on to Deal's Gap. My buddy, Steve, lives in South Florida so he rode his bike from Ft. Lauderdale to Sanford, FL and boarded himself and his bike (04' R1150R) on the AutoTrain on Sunday afternoon. I live in Delaware, so I left early Monday morning and rode down to Lorton, VA to meet his train when it arrived. It is only about a 2-hour ride to Lorton from my house, but I was going to be doing I-95 south through Baltimore and DC morning traffic so I wanted to make sure I had ample time for any possible congestion. I left at 5:30 in the morning and with resonably light traffic (everything is relative) and a few construction zones, I was able to get to the AutoTrain station just before 8:00am.

    The train was on time, arriving at 08:30, and Steve and his bike were off and ready to go by 09:00. We fuled up and struck out for Waynesboro, and the beginning of the BRP.

    The weather was beautiful, and it seemed like we had the BRP all to ourselves; we did not approach another vehicle for at least the 1st 2 hours. We stopped at various overlooks and admired the view, but did not hang out longer than to stretch the legs and snap a photo or two. The first day ended in Roanoke.
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  2. #2
    1024JLC
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    Heffner Gap Overlook
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  3. #3
    1024JLC
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    Calling it a day in Roanoke.
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  4. #4
    1024JLC
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    Day two on the BRP was mostly riding the Central Section and was a little less interesting IMO, but it did offer some photos ops; in particular, Mabry Mill which as I understand is the most photographed landmark on the BRP. I would have liked to been there about 1-hour eariler for better light, but you play the hand you have and this is what I ended up with for my photo.
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  5. #5
    1024JLC
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    Day two ended in Ashville as there was a detour that put us on the slab from Blowing Rock to Ashville. We found a hotel, cleaned up and had a nice dinner at the local Outback. We picked-up a bottle of wine and after returing back to the hotel we opened it and stood outside our rooms, next to the bikes, and commenced to solve all political problems of the day. The next day arrived with an overcast sky and a little cooler temp., but the day cleared nicely as we continued or trip south on the BRP.
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  6. #6
    1024JLC
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    East Fork Overlook
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  7. #7
    Rally Rat RGVILLA's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    nice ride report! I'll look you up the next time I visit Ted and the three of us can ride.

  8. #8
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    great report... you were down in my neck of the woods.

    if you ever come down again, PM me for some excellent alternatives to the dragon... just as many curves, but no squids.

    ian
    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
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  9. #9
    1024JLC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post
    great report... you were down in my neck of the woods.

    if you ever come down again, PM me for some excellent alternatives to the dragon... just as many curves, but no squids.

    ian
    Thanks Ian, I will take you up on that offer next time I get down your way. Same goes for you should you find yourself in the Delaware/SE Pennsylvania area.

    Rgds,
    Jeff

  10. #10
    Frieden mit uns allen drummer's Avatar
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    Wonderful pictures and wonderful ride. Thanks for posting. A friend and I have been planning out a trip from Top to Bottom of the BRP and Skyline Drive. This certainly helps to push the desire.

    I am curious, was there anything you wish you had stopped for/at and did not? In other words, what would you have done differently now in hind sight?
    05 R1200RT
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  11. #11
    1024JLC
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    Quote Originally Posted by drummer View Post
    Wonderful pictures and wonderful ride. Thanks for posting. A friend and I have been planning out a trip from Top to Bottom of the BRP and Skyline Drive. This certainly helps to push the desire.

    I am curious, was there anything you wish you had stopped for/at and did not? In other words, what would you have done differently now in hind sight?
    We were pushed a little for time as work schedules were tight on both the front and back end of our trip window; but if we had more time I believe we would have tried to spend a little more time exploring the Southern end (i.e.: grandfather mountain, various water falls, etc.). In the Northern end, maybe Senaca Rocks. In the Southern Central section, Burkes Garden (sp?), the original location Vanderbilt had chosen for his Biltmore estate before building in Ashville. As I understand, pertty much one way in/out to this mountain valley, but supposed to be a beautiful area.

    I am sure you will have a great ride, and will be wanting to do it again soon.

  12. #12
    GSMoto31 mtfrench's Avatar
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    AutoTrain

    "My buddy, Steve, lives in South Florida so he rode his bike from Ft. Lauderdale to Sanford, FL and boarded himself and his bike (04' R1150R) on the AutoTrain on Sunday afternoon."

    Could you share your likes and dislikes about the AutoTrain experience? I have a business trip in NY in a few weeks and was thinking of using the AutoTrain to avoid slabbing along on Rt. 95. I travel 95 all the time on my bike and would prefer to have more days available for touring in rural PA and NY. Thanks for any info you can offer.
    2009 R1200R (Commuting)
    2008 R1200GSA (Touring)
    2009 R1200GS (Mountains)

  13. #13
    1024JLC
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    My friends comments were as follows:

    1) Right now, at this time of year, rates are high heading north, so he only bought a coach seat. He originally wanted a small sleeper roomette, but they wanted another $300 - $400 additional.

    2) Do not take/get a seat in a car that is next to the dining car as there are 3 seatings for dinner and breakfast, and there will be a constant parade of gray/white hair with walkers and canes ambling by most of the evening and morning.

    3) Food was good!

    4) Take an IPod, a DVD player or some other form of entertainment to avoid listening to the people verbalize every little thing that pops in their heads.

    5) He managed to get some sleep through the night, but a sleeper car with a small bathroom would have been really nice.

    I guess it depends on the time of year and the direction you are heading as to how affordable the sleeper car can be.

    Everything said and done, he was glad he took the train as it gave him an extra 2-days of riding back home at a more relaxed pace.

  14. #14
    GSMoto31 mtfrench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1024JLC View Post
    My friends comments were as follows:

    1) Right now, at this time of year, rates are high heading north, so he only bought a coach seat. He originally wanted a small sleeper roomette, but they wanted another $300 - $400 additional.

    2) Do not take/get a seat in a car that is next to the dining car as there are 3 seatings for dinner and breakfast, and there will be a constant parade of gray/white hair with walkers and canes ambling by most of the evening and morning.

    3) Food was good!

    4) Take an IPod, a DVD player or some other form of entertainment to avoid listening to the people verbalize every little thing that pops in their heads.

    5) He managed to get some sleep through the night, but a sleeper car with a small bathroom would have been really nice.

    I guess it depends on the time of year and the direction you are heading as to how affordable the sleeper car can be.

    Everything said and done, he was glad he took the train as it gave him an extra 2-days of riding back home at a more relaxed pace.

    Very useful and appreciated information! Since you didn't mention anything about the bike, I assume everything worked out well in terms of storage, safety, ease of loading/unloading, etc.
    2009 R1200R (Commuting)
    2008 R1200GSA (Touring)
    2009 R1200GS (Mountains)

  15. #15
    1024JLC
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtfrench View Post
    "My buddy, Steve, lives in South Florida so he rode his bike from Ft. Lauderdale to Sanford, FL and boarded himself and his bike (04' R1150R) on the AutoTrain on Sunday afternoon."

    Could you share your likes and dislikes about the AutoTrain experience? I have a business trip in NY in a few weeks and was thinking of using the AutoTrain to avoid slabbing along on Rt. 95. I travel 95 all the time on my bike and would prefer to have more days available for touring in rural PA and NY. Thanks for any info you can offer.
    If you want some additional info, send me a PM and I put you in direct contact with my buddy. He lives in Coral Springs.

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